Thursday, March 27, 2014

It began as a little puff of smoke...

The Bears team at Valley Middle School is taking on a challenging topic that teens face today.  To Smoke...or Not to Smoke...?
 Collectively, the team has decided to deliver an interdisciplinary project that faces this question head on in math, science, English, health and history. There will be updates as the project progresses.  This is how the project was introduced to the students yesterday.  VERY POWERFUL STUFF!  The room was silent during the viewing and then buzzing with questions, opinions, thoughts and personal stories.  Stay tuned for what happens next...


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mr. Bakke brings history to life!

Mr. Bakke, the 8th grade U.S. History teacher at Valley recreated the writing of the Constitution in his classroom.  He recorded some of the conversation that was had during the process.  Some of the historical figures even made an appearance!  Check it out!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mr. Sanders is AmAZinG! That is NOT debatable.

Students walked into the room, grabbed a snack, read the board and buckled in for another great ride!
Using a Wireless trackpad as a clicker, Mr. Sanders was able to walk around the room and have proximity to his students as he led the discussion.

What is on the agenda, you ask?  DEBATES!


The students were given a long list of topics to choose from and were paired up according to the topic and their stance on the topic.

Students should be allowed to use cell phones in school.
 Agree: Tatiana                 Disagree: Austin
            Donovan                               Mike

No illegal immigrants should be allowed into the U.S. 

Agree: Austin                  Disagree : Rhiannon
            Dylan                                    Jaden

Doctors should be able to help the terminally ill die.
Agree: Alyssa                            Disagree: CC
            Anna                                               Talia


Athletes who have taken steroids should be banned from the record books and the Hall of Fame. 
Agree: Kameron                           Disagree: Ethan
            Alynn                                               Gaige


Students collaborated and gathered information regarding their topic and stance.   

There were many sites used for this writing project and
was just one of them.

 Students researched Facts vs Opinion and shared their findings.

The word contention was used during class discussion and students were reminded frequently that in order to have contention, they needed facts to back it up.

Mr. Sanders also went over useful searching strategies and gave them a helpful tip sheet.

The students are putting their papers and presentations together...stay tuned for debate results!

Mr. Welsh has a bone to pick with you...

 At Twining, Mr. Welsh uses a great site that lets students explore the bones in the human body.

Check it out!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

No Bones About It!

Mr. Jeff Welsh teaches 7th grade science at Twining Middle School.  I had the wonderful opportunity to watch his class in action!

A few 7th grade science teachers in our district developed SMARTboard Notebook presentations with graphics, info, pictures, and active video links.  They were shared across our district and provide a wonderful blend of technology involved with the standards they are required to teach.  It is like a notebook coming to life!

Graphic of the anatomy of a bone.


                  Adding a bit of current media, the notes included,
                             "Bone Dance" - Miley Cyrus 

 There was also a culinary connection with bone marrow...mmmm

Mr. Welsh made a personal connection with the topic by telling a story of a former wrestler who broke their hand in a match.  The wrestler sent Mr. Welsh the X-ray of his hand.  He passed it around to show the students. 
X-ray of wrestler's broken hand

 There was also an interview with an astronaut who shared information about how bone density is lost in space travel.  They are researching this as we look into longer durations in space.

This wasn't your typical bone presentation. Bones were looked at from many angles.  It made you think about bones differently.

Coming up....Mr. Brian Halvorson will be speaking about skin cancer later in the week, which ties into the Integumentary System

Great work, Mr. Welsh!  Your enthusiasm for the your content is evident.  I am looking forward to learning more with you.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Comparing ourselves to the rest of the world.

Mrs. Kristin Smith rocks!  She uses a wonderful blend of required curriculum with a dash of her own magic.  The students are on task and "with it" every time I have stopped by.  Here is just a taste of what it is like to be a lucky student in her classroom.

Teachers are required to have their Essential Question and Learning Goals  posted in the classroom,
it helps keep everyone informed and on task.

Mrs. Smith used Socrative to gather anonymous information from her students. Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational games and exercises.  It was important to have the students see comparisons within the classroom first.  She projected the outcomes on the board for deeper discussion.

Using Socrative, students were asked if they had a personal computer at home.  They discussed the results.

Next students were shown a series of Cartogram maps.  The yellow countries were developed and the green countries were developing. This map represents Personal Computers per 100 people.

This is just one of the maps represented.  There were also maps about other topics like energy consumption.

When asked about what it was like to be in Mrs. Smith's class, this is what I got. :)

Looking forward to my next visit to Mrs. Smith's geography class!